Bangladesh is seeking extradition of a key-accused of deadly Aug 21, 2004 grenade attack as he reportedly took refuge in South Africa to evade justice at home.

According to a foreign office statement State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam made a request to South African Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Nomaindiya Mfeketo to expedite a process to repatriate Maulana Tajuddin to be exposed to justice.

"The South African deputy minister reiterated her government's willingness to cooperate in this regard," the statement read.

Shahriar met Mfeketo on the sidelines of the 16th Council of Ministers Meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) in Indonesia's Bali island on Wednesday.

Tajuddin, a presumed kingpin of outlawed Harkatul Jihad (HuJI), had supplied grenades for the Aug 21 attack on an Awami League rally at Bangabandhu Aenue when 24 people were killed while incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina narrowly escaped the assault.

Nearly 500 people were wounded in that attack while the dead included Ivy Rahman, Awami League's women front chief and wife of former president Zillur Rahman.

The trial of the case is underway at a Dhaka court with the then premier Khaleda Zia's fugitive son and BNP leader Tarique Rahman, the then state minister for home Lufozzaman Babar and HuJI chief Mufti Abdul Hannan being major accused.

Tajuddin was allegedly given a safe passage abroad by the then BNP-Jamaat regime as part of its efforts to protect the culprits while he is being tried in absentia.

The Interpol on Aug 19, 2014, informed Bangladesh Police that Tajuddin was staying in South Africa while it issued a red alert describing him as a "most wanted criminal".

According to the foreign office statement Shahriar also requested his counterpart to actively consider opening up of South African resident diplomatic mission in Dhaka in soonest possible time to facilitate enhanced people-to-people contacts and potential businesses between the two countries.

Both the leaders agreed on further strengthening and consolidating the ties between the two countries in diverse fields.


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